The Magic Of Shadows

Pink Flamingo And Shadow Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Flamingo” today, I decided to do a quick little sketch in three colors of one admiring its own shadow. As a kid, I was always really fascinated by shadows. I found a book at the library once on how to make shadow puppets with your hands. I still remember feeling like a magician as I clasped my thumbs together and flapped my other fingers madly about to make a flying bird appear. Or, placing my hands back to back with one in a claw-like gesture to make deer antlers. If you’re rather graceful, or indeed double-jointed, you can also make a shadow that looks a bit like a flamingo. Though mine always looked a bit more like a duck. But, no matter what appeared, it still felt magical. I think I feel the same way today, as I dive in quickly to sketch something. I’ve no idea if I’ll get close to what I’m imagining or if something else entirely will happen, but I know I’ll always have a blast in the process! And it’s always super fun to find out what will make an appearance each day.

Today, as I was standing outside my building, I looked up at the foggy gray sky. It’s the kind of winter sky that’s a bit gloomy as all of the colors fight valiantly to be seen, but ultimately fail. Everything is cast into a strange black and white dream that turns the scene into film noir. It’s actually rather beautiful and intriguing. As I was standing there looking at the faded buildings around me, I heard a whoosh above my head and looked up again to see a flock of birds. They were just silhouettes against the impossibly gray sky, but thrilling to watch. While I watching, one bird strayed from the flock and went in the other direction. This change in the story was quite noticeable and so my eyes continuing to follow this silhouette of a bird to see where he was going. The flock had disappeared over the building and just this one little bird was left wandering around the sky. The visual was so very cool, because it was all just a play of shadow puppets. I then realized the bird wasn’t determined to head off on his own, he was only uncertain. He’d somehow lost his group. I felt sorry for this little bird, but then another whoosh came from above and the flock zoomed in and collected him.

I was instantly relieved and glad that this particular tale had a happy ending. That’s my favorite kind. I’m not sure how long I stood there watching this show. No doubt, longer than I should have, since I had a lot of work to do today. Truly, it’s a wonder I get anything done at all, because I often take time to enjoy the simplest of things. But, these are the moments that thrill me most. The simple kind that can be so easily ignored. Birds fly overhead all of the time, and I’m normally just looking down and not paying full attention. But today, when I looked up, I watched a story unfold. It was a very simple story indeed, but in that film noir light, it suddenly felt epic and amazing. I was initially bummed about a day so foggy and gray that it stole all of my lovely color. But, by simply shifting my gaze, I realized that the show hadn’t ended at all. It had simply moved upward to the sky. Where I could watch with sheer wonder and amazement as, once again, I enjoyed the magic of shadows.

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Day 24 - Pink Flamingo And Shadow Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

 

Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
35 Comments
  1. Karen Fortier 6 months ago

    Fantastic flamingo Charlie! How great to be in the right place to watch the bird saga and to observe a happy ending. It’s the seemingly insignificant things we are lucky enough to observe that others miss out on because they either have forgotten how to truly see the world that we walk through or they just don’t take the time.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕Yeah, the world is so much better when we take the time to notice the little things it has to offer!

  2. Mary Roff 6 months ago

    Beautiful flamingo and a wonderful story to brighten a gray day.

  3. ~M 6 months ago

    Oh I just love your stories Charlie! Such beautiful imagery portrayed, and I’m glad it ended well.

  4. Hninn Hninn 6 months ago

    Fantastic flamingo and shadow….
    Me too, i love to play with my hands to get various shadow of shape on the wall.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 Shadow puppets are so fun to DO! hehe… I still do that!

  5. Sharon Nolfi 6 months ago

    Incredible shadow – one of your best. I also find that focusing on natural phenomena around me can transform my mood. Noticing the beauty and wonder of our planet is a key to happiness.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 It’s so true! Just taking a moment to enjoy the natural world and I’m recharged and ready to take on the man-made one! 😉

  6. Sandra Strait 6 months ago

    You’ve perfectly described the skies around here lately. It feels like perpetual twilight. It’s fun to sit and look out on the lake, though. Not as many birds right now, but we have a Nutria that has decided that something in our lawn is tasty, and there are always ducks floating about.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 Your scene sounds lovely! I’d love to look out on a lake!

  7. Laura Kate 6 months ago

    Some people stop and small the roses. Some people stop and watch the birds. Both are good.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Yes to that, Laura! 😃💕 Anytime we stop and enjoy the natural world, it’s always a good thing!

  8. LoriCtoo 6 months ago

    Pretty bird,pretty bird! I had a bird experience the other morning. There were 4 large flocks of geese flying by sort of in a row. I’ve never seen that many flying together before. I am thankful they weren’t too close to our house! It could have been a mess.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕Aww I bet that was so cool to see that many geese at once! And glad you dodged a mess! hehe

  9. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 6 months ago

    Beautiful!!! Love your shadow too!!! I really love shadows in the real world and love to see what made them when it is not always clear. It can be fun lol. But when it comes to painting em ehhhhh lol so i guess that thing that says do it!! lol 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Shadows are so fun when they seem mysterious and hard to figure out. As for painting them… that’s kind of the concept I use. hehe… it’s just a shape sort of under and a bit like the thing. lol I paint that in some clear water and then pop in some color and hope for the best! 😉

  10. Lisa Cihlar 6 months ago

    That is an excellent story! Makes you wonder who noticed that little junior was missing? How was a message sent to the leader that they had to turn back? Who was pissed off because junior is always messing up and maybe it’s time he was taught a lesson?

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 I know right? Those were the same questions I had. It was so fun to watch!

  11. Tom 6 months ago

    Right place, right time, Charlie. I always feel that when something in nature catches my eye. Love your flamingo!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks so much, Tom! 😃💕 Yeah, there’s nothing better than being in the right place at the right time.

  12. Jacob and Nathan 6 months ago

    Awesome colourful flamingo! I love the shadow, it seems very accurate. Did you use any reference?

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 I did use a free reference for this one from Pixabay. Normally I sort of guess at the shadows, but wanted to try to get one that was a bit more accurate for this post since it was about shadows! hehe 😉

  13. Francine P.H. 6 months ago

    I love that you love birds. I like that you admit that you do 😀 They are such wonderful creatures.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks so much, Francine! 😃💕 I adore birds! And, that’s probably why I adore painting them so much as well!

  14. Fatima Chamkha 6 months ago

    Great pink flamingo Charlie well done!

  15. Linda Calverley 6 months ago

    Beautiful bird and colouring Charlie.

  16. smzang 6 months ago

    Charlie said, “I was initially bummed about a day so foggy and gray that it stole all of my lovely color. But, by simply shifting my gaze, I realized that the show hadn’t ended at all.”

    I’m having one of those days where I need to ‘shift my gaze’. Your words reminded me we all get to choose our moods, and then they caused me to change mine. Many thanks to you and your shadow, and to your beautiful pink flamingo and its shadow.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 Aww… yay! I’m so thrilled that I helped changed your mood! I actually needed that as well and looking up to see those birds felt like such a gift.

  17. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 months ago

    Very pretty flamingo shadow puppeting herself – three colors – only you could get so much out of three colors.

    All my shadow puppets remind me to wash my hands – LOL.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Lol… too funny! Yeah, I was never that great with shadow puppets, but it was so much fun!

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